THE REACHOUT HOUSE
This project is design, construction, and a research project. My engagement with the non-profit organization, SquareOne Villages, led to questions about tiny-house architecture and social cohesion. I led a comprehensive qualitative study across three tiny-house communities for residents with chronic housing insecurity in Austin, Portland, and Eugene. The research finds are available across a series of conference proceedings, linked here: IASTE 2016, ISPA 2018, ARCC 2018.
I collaborated with Christina Bollo to incorporate the research findings into the design of a tiny-house called the ReachOUT House. This name reflects the parti of concentric layers of social spaces reaching out into the community. The RearchOUT House is one of nearly two dozen tiny homes constructed as part of the EVE (Emerald Village Eugene) social housing initiative facilitated by SquareOne Villages to address housing insecurity in our community.
Finally, our home is realized through the collective efforts of students, community volunteers, and local professionals. I led our team in raising funds and managing initial site construction. The on-going construction has been led by Mike Dotson of Niel Kelly Construction in Eugene, OR. Our home was generously supported by the John Cox Family and the Lane County Rotary Society as well as over 300 independent donors. Recent UO graduates Samantha Freeson and Paige Portwood dedicated many hours to raise awareness about housing insecurity in America and to construct the house. The house is scheduled for completion in summer 2019.
Emerald Village Eugene (EVE) is a project developed by SquareOne Villages. It builds upon the success of Opportunity Village Eugene (OVE), a transitional micro-housing community for otherwise homeless individuals and couples. This next iteration of our “village model” will provide a more accessible and sustainable place transition to. Each of the 22 homes atEVE are designed to meet the definition of a “permanent dwelling” — including sleeping and living areas, a kitchenette, and bathroom — all in 160- 300 square feet. The individual units will be supported by a common building that includes a gathering area, kitchen, laundry, restroom, and tool storage.
Unlike most affordable housing projects, residents of EVE will not simply be renters, they will be members a housing cooperative with a share in the ownership of the village — enabling them to create a modest asset that can be cashed out if and when they choose to move out. Members will make monthly payments of between $250 – 350 to cover operating costs. As part of this payment, each household will also accumulate a $1,500 share, paid in increments over the course of 30 months.
The ReachOUT house at Emerald Village in Eugene extends living space into the public realm to affirm community cohesion. Our design features passive natural ventilation, daylight on two sides, principles of defensible space, and zones of privacy. By reimagining the front porch as an element of living, the house prioritizes the interaction of residents over personal space. The north facing retracts using folding French doors to seamlessly expand the social spaces onto the porch and into the commons.
The average house size in 1950 was around 930 square feet with approximately 3.6 people living in the residence. In 2015 the average house size nearly tripled to around 3,000 square feet with only 2.5 people residing in the home. Today’s standards for an occupant to square footage ratio wastes money, materials, and energy that could otherwise be wisely consumed.
The average rent in Eugene, Oregon is about $1202 per month. That is without first months, last months rent and the security deposit. For an individual who is homeless, without a job, or on government subsidies that is a large sum to put forward right away. The available housing affordable for everyone in Eugene is minimal. EVE bridges that gap and allows everyone a place to call home.